International Banking

An international bank account is a key part of unlocking your IBC's potential. International accounts are most commonly held in US Dollars, but if you prefer to diversify and choose another currency the two most common currencies are Euros and Pound Sterling. If you desire an account in another currency, your Global Capital Protection Specialist will assist you.

Here are a few guidelines in regards opening an account for an offshore company.

In order to open the account for an offshore company, all reputable banks will ask for a very detailed personal and business information from the owners and controllers of the offshore bank account.

In particular, the bank will need to identify the actual beneficial owner(s) of the underlying offshore company. All such individuals, as well as everyone who will be granted account signatory rights, will have to be properly identified and will have to provide a number of documents - such as a certified passport copy, a bankers reference, and proof of address. (These documentary requirements may vary from bank to bank.)

While account introduction through an approved intermediary (like Global Capital Protection) is still often possible without the owner of the IBC personally appearing in the bank, nevertheless the banks will require to know their new client in very substantial detail. This is simply required by the banking industry regulations, which are mandatory.

At the same time banking secrecy remains a foundation for all offshore finance centres, which certainly includes Belize. While the bank will indeed request and hold detailed information about its client, this information will remain strongly protected by the banking secrecy laws. Severe financial and criminal penalties await anyone, who divulges such information. The confidential information on a banks` client may only be divulged under a proper criminal investigation, carried out in Belize by a local authority (not by any foreign representative or international body). Release of banking information to any foreign party or government is not possible, unless ordered by a Belizean court.

For many clients it may seem more convenient to open the offshore bank account in a country situated closer to where they live, or where the IBC has its customers. Many owners of offshore companies tend to operate the companies directly by themselves. Such owners might choose to open the offshore accounts independently, in a location and with bankers whom they may already be familiar with. However, such independent solution may also adversely impact the owners` personal tax circumstances and put him under additional risk of enquiry.

Quite often offshore companies hold their bank accounts in another offshore financial centre or in a country that is know as a "financial centre". Examples of widely recognized offshore financial centres are Switzerland, Austria, Hong Kong, Cayman Islands, Isle of Man and, recently, some countries of Eastern and Central Europe.

The standard set of IBC documentation (if properly certified by the notary and legalised by Apostille) will usually satisfy all formal requirements of most banks as far as the internal structure of the IBC itself is concerned. However, as indicated above, in order to open a bank account for an offshore company, the most important aspect is that of the actual owners and controllers of the company, their business and financial profile.

Bank Account Assistance

Opening an Offshore Bank Account can often seem daunting. We have worked with several Offshore Banks, both in Belize and other offshore jurisdictions. As a service to our clients we have compiled an Offshore Banking Guide, which not only steps you through the process for specific banks but also includes all the application forms you'll need. Alternatively we can submit the application on your behalf for a small service fee.

Questions & Answers

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about Offshore Bank Accounts:

Why would I want an Offshore Bank Account in anything other than US Dollars?

Having an Offshore Bank Account in an alternative currency to US Dollars not only makes sense for those who may frequently travel to the European Union, Canada or United Kingdom, but for those who would like to diversify their cash in the event of a monetary system collapse or rapid currency devaluation of the US Dollar.

Can I have an International Debit Card with my Offshore Bank Account?

Yes, absolutely. International debit cards are an extremely popular and convenient way to access the funds in your Offshore Bank Account. International debit cards are available and usable in most ATMs worldwide.

I’m concerned with identity theft when using my International Debit Card attached to my Offshore Bank Account, what can I do to minimize the risk?

To minimize risk of identity theft we offer rechargeable pre-paid Visas and MasterCards. We suggest transferring only what you need onto that card leaving no connection to your debit card account for thieves to capitalize on. Prepaid credit cards enjoy all the same protection as traditional credit card accounts backed by the Visa and MasterCard Logo. Use this prepaid card in place of your debit card whenever possible.

Is it legal or will I be looked at as a ‘tax cheat’ if I have an Offshore Bank Account?

It is legal to have an offshore bank account. Yes, there are different and additional tax reporting requirements for having an offshore bank account, but any reputable tax consultant will prepare the additional documentation so you stay compliant, and legal. As long as you adhere to the reporting requirements, you will be able to enjoy the benefits of your Offshore Bank Account.

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